BINDWEED AND THE BIG TWIST – Marilyn Armstrong

BINDWEED AND THE BIG TWIST
Twisted vines on a tree in Manchaug

When the spring flowers have finished in June, the bindweed comes and takes over. I have spent every year of my gardening life fending off the bindweed (which I often call “strangle weed”). It lives, as far as I can tell, everywhere. It is the most intense, durable, determined plant on earth and I don’t know anyone who has successfully done it. Even when you think you’ve gotten it all, it will sneak back.

Lest we forget that human wires twist, too!

There’s also wild grape-vine, Jimsonweed, Virginia creeper and others I can’t name offhand. We’ve got them all.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Here the battle between bindweed, an insanely enthusiastic forsythia , and wild grape-vine. The war never ends.

I don’t have the energy to fight it as much these days, so usually by the end of the summer, it has taken over. But all of them die when winter comes. Each year, it’s a new battle.

Antique tractor under Virginia Creeper? We’ve got that, too!
Virginia creeper at least turns to brilliant colors in fall

MIGHTY OAKS, MOUNTAINS, AND WHERE THE RIVERS RUN – Marilyn Armstrong

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: PLACE IN THE WORLD

I guess the height of building do it for some people, but for me, it’s the mountains and the oak trees. I live in an oak forest. The trees are tall. In winter, I worry about them falling from heavy snow or ice. In the summer, I worry about wind and then, finally, about the millions of leaves that are going to fall everywhere in my world.

Followed by the snow. Again.

Sunset – Jackman, Maine

I grew up in New York and for many years lived in Boston. None of these are “the place in the world.” For me, it’s always wild places. The height of our trees, the peaks of mountains. the valleys and rivers the places against which I measure my place on this earth.

WordPress WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: LINES – Marilyn Armstrong

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: LINES

Out in the deserts of Arizona and Mexico, there is only one tree that can cope with the dry and constant heat: the Ironwood tree.

PROLIFIC LIFE WITH WIRES: WORDPRESS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Daily Post WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: PROLIFIC

This has not been a prolific April. It’s just plain cold. It’s the 18th today and it is not supposed to be this cold. Wet? Maybe. It rains a lot in the spring in these parts. But we shouldn’t have needed another oil delivery this morning. We got one anyway, and probably for the first time in MANY years, we are actually behind in our payments for oil.

We pay all year round to avoid catastrophic single payments, but this year has not been a normal year.

Below, a few very different looks for “prolific.”

Profusion of mics and prolific wires
Prolific wires!
The canal is most prolifically covered with fallen leaves
Violets and dandelions cover the back yard in early spring. And, should we ever have one, I’m sure they will again.
Wild growth on picket fence
Wild profusion of lilies … last spring …
Goldenrod by Roaring Dam
Prolific woodpile

SLAUGHTER AT FURRY TOY PASS – MARILYN & GARRY ARMSTRONG

A cautionary tale for lovers of stuffed, furry toys
– and dawgz!


 Story by Garry Armstrong

Photography by Marilyn Armstrong


No one wants to talk about that dreadful, dark day in history. It was a day of senseless violence — as opposed to those many other more sensible violent periods. The massacre was perpetrated on an innocent, unsuspecting civilian population. The blemish on our national reverence for furry creatures with embedded squeakers can never be erased.

Squirrel was the first -- but hardly the last -- casualty.
Squirrel was the first — but hardly the last — casualty.

We treasure stories about children playing with teddy bears. We sing lullabies about cuddly, soft animals who live in the sense memories of our innocent kid years.

We should have seen it coming
We should have seen it coming

But, now there’s a darker, more murky chapter. It’s about our Scotties, Bonnie and Gibbs. A bloody chapter about the ambush at Furry Toys Pass!!

There’s no forgetting the innocence of the furry victims. Mr. Rabbit, the Hedge Hog brothers. Cousin Squirrel, and Yellow Beaky Kid. They lived their lives in quiet solitude, in a hidden valley that promised safety from marauding Scotties.

Bonnie has broken through! Security breached! Alarms sounding!
Bonnie has broken through! Security breached! Alarms sounding!

Security was heightened as new members joined the furry family.  But the Scotties had a mole who leaked information to them about what should have been The Safe House. Danger was near. No one fully appreciated the depth of the Wrath of the Scotties.

With fang and claw, Gibbs is first to attack!
With fang and claw, Gibbs is first to attack!

Deception was a key part to Bonnie and Gibbs game plan. They appeared quiet and serene, maybe nothing but biscuits on their mind. We were lulled into a false sense of security. The Furry Kids were left alone and vulnerable in the pass that led to a box canyon and the badlands.

it's a trap, a trick, a feint!
it’s a trap, a trick, a feint!

In a flash, Bonnie and Gibbs made their move!! We couldn’t believe what happened. Mr. Squirrel!! The Hedge Hogs, The Soggy Doggy and Yellow Beaky Kid — all snatched in cruel jaws before we could move to save them. We couldn’t keep up with Bonnie and Gibbs as they swooped in for their prey.

Back up troops were too far away. Bonnie and Gibbs had taken over Furry Toys Pass!!

We’re now waiting for a dispatch from Reuters to see if  Bonnie and Gibbs will consider a diplomatic trade-off for the lives of their furry hostages. The Scotties are adamant in their demands. They want a huge payoff. BIG biscuits, none of those wimpy, small brittle things that melt in their paws.

Garry tried negotiations, but the Scottish Terrorists remain obdurate!
Garry tried negotiations, but the Scottish Terrorists remain obdurate!

We’re not sure if we can save the furry kids from prison time. Too many treaties have been broken, too many treats consumed. Too many casualties with holes in their furry bodies, squeakers mashed to groans. Too much hours spent stitching and mending. Too many colors of thread needed — and too many needles.

The Old Man was right about those Scotties. They are bad.

Bad to the Bone!!


A final note: With the addition of Duke the Dogge, crazed killer from east of Uxbridge, all that remains are carcasses. Yesterday, new carcasses arrived as well as three new squeaky balls and a dozen low-bounce tennis balls. The bodies of the soon to be demolished are hanging on the door of the microwave. Their days are coming.

CROWDS ON BOSTON’S WHARF – GARRY ARMSTRONG

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:
A Face in the Crowd


This week’s challenge are faces “in the crowd.” These are the people you never meet. Crowds of tourists. The folks lined up to buy tickets at the game. Happy faces, worried faces.

Ready for the big kayak
Tourists
More tourists

This is a favorite subject. I’m less interested in landscape and more interested in the people, their dogs, and the stories I’ll never know. They give a human shape to Boston, a story different than just the sidewalks and walls.

Waiting in line

This is Boston’s Wharf. Tourists. Visiting us while we visit them.

NAMELESS FACES: ON THE STREETS IN BOSTON

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:
A Face in the Crowd


This week’s challenge are faces “in the crowd,” or what we used to call in the newspaper biz, nameless faces. There are two really great things about it. The first is that it’s a way to make a statement about “people” without talking about a specific “person.”

Boston, Night
Downtown, night
Strangers in a night

The other is that unidentifiable people don’t need to give you a release to use the pictures. I often intentionally shoot from slightly behind or sideways so faces are harder to identify.

Another stranger

Of course, if you know that person — really know them — you could probably pick them out anyway, but you would have to be that person or know him or her pretty well.

Downtown, late afternoon
Theater district, before the show

I also like this theme very well in black and white. It give a shape to, for example, city streets to have humans on it. You can gauge the size of the sidewalks and the height of building and trees and steps by the relative size of people walking by.